Sunday, December 16, 2007
Dave makes his Play for Lib Dem support
Stand by for some serious party on party wooing action by Dave Cameron in relation to the Lib Dems. Huhne or Clegg should wear their chastity belts when Dave comes to call, as he is clearly looking for a serious relationship as a hedge against not gaining an overall majority in 2009. Given his performance in the polls- 13 points according to Yougov in the Sunday Times- he would head the biggest party but would probably still lack the overall majority he needs to form a safe government. The inbuilt bias in the voting system means means he needs regular poll leads in the high forties and early fifties-as Blair enjoyed in the late seventies- to be sure of victory. Hence we see him setting his cap at the third party which might well control the balance of power.
The reaction from the Huhne side of the latter's leadership contest seems unimpressed:
'David Cameron's claims to be pushing the green agenda are just as hollow as Gordon Brown's. In the summer of 2006 we had to break off our attempts to come up with joint policies because the Conservatives were not prepared to talk seriously about green taxes.'
But what would he say to a deal after an election producing a hung parliament? It would depend on a)how much the Lib Dems wanted a share of power and b) whether the Tories had managed to change its brand more than Cameron has so far managed. To this latter end we see Tory MPs Greg Clark and Jeremy Hunt are publishing a pamphlet next week: Who's Progressive Now, Why the Conservatives Offer the best Hope for Progressive Politics This argues that the Tories have regularly taken on vested interests and taken enormous challenges head on to achieve necessary change. Whereas Labour sees the state as its chosen instrument of change, for Conservatives it is 'society':
Cameron is less likely to talk about what a Conservative government would do than to highlight what is being done by charities, social enterprises and other voluntary organisations.
It hardly needs to be said that Labour supporters are likely to treat such optimism as, well, optimistic. If I were a struggling single mother it would not reassure me all that much to hear that the support I desperately needed was going to be dependent on the vagaries of charitable endeavours. Dave has much work to convince voters, let alone the Lib Dems that his is a stock worth investing in.